The pre reading on Roger's wonderful forum here created great anticipation. It was the abundance of new songs. I want to be challenged at a live show. Hearing the same old songs over and over again doesn't do it.
The Boulder Theater has an open stage area up front followed by cocktail tables on both sides of a square bar. Then there is a second level with rows of theater seats. This makes it a good venue in that if offers something for everyone. In this open floor configuration the theater has a capacity of 1000. People were spread throughout, but not quite pressed shoulder to shoulder. I would estimate is was 70% full. Todd commented on a good turnout. This gig was filmed. A local bar was giving out tickets before the show to help fill it up.
Will Hoge opened and was very confident and good. Starting to make a name on his own he was a better than average opener. He open mic'ed one song which was impressive.
"Love in Action" immediately set the tone. The band sounded terrific throughout. They rocked, jelled and all the instruments could be heard even with the high volume. The only thing that was off was the background vocals were too low. On some of the early songs they may as well have not been there. But this was about Todd's vocal with lots of strong instruments around it. And his vocal was loose quickly. No mistakes were evident. Foamey had to be swapped out during one song, I believe to replace a broken string.
The two cover songs were very good. As 80's material goes these are two of my favorites so they were welcome. "Lunatic Fringe" was the most emphatic presentation of any of the non new songs. And it was great to hear "Open My Eyes."
The new material began with "Mad" which was fitting in that it has the feel of a leadoff cut, something like "Itch in My Brain," though not necessarily musically. It should be the first track on the album. There are two songs which are very Robin Trower like, though one migrates into totally Todd vocals -- very slow and intense guitar. "Gun" sounds musically like "Boogies Hamburger Hell" though not in a silly way. And the crowd pumped its' fists fairly well during "Strike."
"Mountain Top" indeed has that sports anthem structure to which Todd conceded he was writing. It works. It's packed with energy. How does something like that catch on? I guess some sports arena has to start playing it. And then it gets heard on TV and spreads. Why not. It stands on its' own anyway without the sports connection. The last couple new songs particularly rocked and made for a good exit before the encores.
Personal new favorite is immediately "Courage." That just stands out with the great Todd writing we know. No money back desired.
The new material all rocks, but fear not, the Todd melodies are always there. As they always have been, even under _No World Order_. There is a place for straight on in-your-face rock tunes. Like with an evening cocktail at the end of a long week. I welcome all these. And they provide Todd a big arsenal of fresh live material at least until a healthy social security check starts showing up in two years. We know he can no longer hit all the high notes consistently and the piano is problematic. This material is conducive to how Todd needs to tour now.
He looked in great shape. Like his caricature on the cover of _Another Live_.
The encores hit the mark. During "Just One Victory" I unexpectedly actually shed a couple tears. I had not felt that since the late 70's and very early 80's at the Old Waldorf and Greek Theater. It was happening this night. There was something magic going on. I believe the band fully came together on this night in Boulder. Kate and I felt very lucky this event occurred here. And there was clapping during "Just One Victory." Not everyone, but there were plenty there who knew. Colorado is the happenin' place to be. It's where this band found its' synergy.